Order of Saint Sava Presented to the President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces
At central celebration of marking eight centuries of autocephaly of Serbian Orthodox Church, held this evening in the Great Hall of “Sava” Centre, President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić was presented with the highest decoration of Serbian Orthodox Church - Order of Saint Sava, for his active love for mother Church, self-sacrificing zeal for the unity of Serbian people as a whole and tireless struggle for integrity of Serbia, especially for preservation of Kosovo and Metohija within its borders.
The celebration was attended by Speaker of the National Assembly Maja Gojković, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Milan Mojsilović and numerous other guests from all spheres of public life.
As the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Irinej presented the decoration to President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, he said that President Vučić had opened the paths of Serbia to Europe and the world and that owing to his work, Serbia was spoken of and thought of in a different way.
- As our people says “What is taken by force can be regained, but something that is bestowed can never be reclaimed.” We must not give but a single foot of our holy Kosovo land. We accept a compromise and agreement, but we will not by any means give it away. I thank the president for everything that he has done so far and I ask him to continue ever so strongly, powerfully and with arguments that have been present so far - Patriarch Irinej stressed, adding that he believed in help of saints for the preservation of Kosovo and Metohija.
Receiving the decoration, President Vučić underlined that eight centuries before Saint Sava had been aware that church and state were two faces of one and the same golden coin of Serbian people and that the Saint had been confident that there could not be strong church without a strong state, nor strong state without the strong church.
President Vučić said that he had not hoped for the decoration, nor had he asked for it or expected it, which was why the first reaction to the news about the decoration, which had surprised him, had been silence and awareness of his own “temporariness which I rather consciously chose at the moment when I decided to speak the truth about everything and even our deepest wounds and our problems”.
- I did not want lie to become eternal, to devour and destroy us, to take us away for good, and I did not have second thoughts about personal transiency being the price that should be paid. The thing I want is for Serbia to be eternal - President Vučić sent the message, adding in the end that the received decoration obliged him to work even more and to fight for Serbia ever more strongly, for its unity and support to our people to the west of the Drina and Danube, in Montenegro and everywhere where Serbian people lived.
The highest Church decoration - Order of Saint Sava - has been awarded since 1882 to notable persons and institutions who with their efforts and work have contributed to wellbeing of Serbian people and Serbian Orthodox Church. That decoration was conferred this evening to His Holiness, Serbian Patriarch Irinej as well, for long-lasting, devoted archi-pastoral work, wisdom and responsibility worthy of a Saint Sava’s successor, demonstrated on the throne of Serbian Orthodox Church.
On the occasion of the great jubilee, Serbian member of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik received the Order of Saint Simeon Myrrh Streaming for his love for mother Church, zeal for the unity of Serbian people as a whole and incessant struggle for the Republic of Srpska.
Bishop of Niš Arsenije participated in the programme of the celebration by reading an epistle sent by Serbian Orthodox Church to its people on the occasion of the jubilee, and the programme included Representative Orchestra of the Serbian Armed Forces Guard which at the beginning played national anthem “Bože Pravde”, the Choir of Radio-Television of Serbia, and performance of musical-drama story “Vow of Saint Sava”.